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A&E's "Duck Dynasty" has built an enormous fan following on gentle, homespun humor and stories that are downright family friendly. But, a reality show is still a reality show, which means it's long past due for one of the Robertson clan to poop out a tell-all novel.
That honor goes to Vietnam vet Si Robertson, whose unfortunately titled book, "Si-cology: Tales and Wisdom from 'Duck Dynasty's' Favorite Uncle," is now available (for the record, Phil Robertson's book, "Happy, Happy, Happy" was not as revealing). For those who don't like words and reading, or just find it difficult to hold a book while drinking beer, holding a gun, and blowing a duck whistle, an audio version is available. Just kidding!
Miley Cyrus has a brand problem ahead of her. This is nothing new to female solo artists who have had a run in their youth only to be painted into a corner in their later years, and no doubt, she and her label are looking at longevity even as the "nowness" of some songs from "Bangerz" fade within a near-instant.
"Bangerz" is all over the map. It's expensively made and tailored song-for-song to showcase Cyrus' affinities and still-growing sense of style and delivery. There's raw material there in the 20-year-old, and any inch of good tape is blown to such max proportions, it's hard to hear what a Miley Cyrus even is. The former "Hannah Montana" has caught flack lately for her boisterous fashions and photos, sexual explicit performances and the pre-occupation (and co-option) of black culture to lend legitimacy to her "grown-up" recording phase. But make no mistake: controversy often parades as substance, with which fun-loving "Bangerz" struggles. There are too many imitations and unearned affectations to know what kind of performed Cyrus is at her core.
Still, when it's on, it's so on, like with her single "We Can't Stop." "Bangerz" also has its fair share of starters.
Below are thoughts on the album, track by track:
1. “Adore You” – It’s always a risk to start an album with a "baby baby baby" ballad, but here, the the point seems to attract the crowd who prefers their Rihanna simmering rather than boiling.
2. "We Can't Stop" -- Still one of the more tasty, hearty dark pop jams of 2013, "Stop" should have kicked this thing off. The unfussy tempo mixed with an insistent melody and casual drug use makes this a winner. Also features one of the four hundred million Mike WiLL Made It shout-outs on this album.
3. "SMS (Bangerz)" -- You know you're in trouble when the thing that makes the most sense on your track is a codeine-controlled Britney Spears verse bubbling nonsense over more nonsense. This hot pop mess irrationally rips off Ke$ha's "Animal" a couple years too late.
4. "4x4" -- Did you know: Miley Cyrus is the daughter of singer Billy Ray Cyrus, and that she is also a very unruly? According to this experiment, she's a "female rebel," though fails to differentiate a female rebel from any other kind of rebel. She's too busy explaining her behaviors by banging on the dash as she drives "round and round" a spiral of accordion and shame. This genre hybrid represents "country" and "the South" in much the same way drag queens represent women. They're a different thing altogether.
5. "My Darlin'" -- The final song in this nasty block of blunders. Classic "Stand By Me" becomes reinterpreted into Cyrus and Future's auto-tuned grievances, a filler tune at best.
6. "Wrecking Ball" -- Without the mostly-nude music video, the ballad stands up as striking -- if somewhat generic - single for Cyrus, whose growl handles the tearful melodrama well.
7. "Love Money Party" -- While the best parts of this song are copy and pasted with little wiggle room for a varied performance, Cyrus seems to thrive in the rap-singing and the hot dance pace. The former child-star makes a comment here about the interchangeability of making money, partying and loving, something she may know a lot about. Her public persona and that slight drawl over an ominous beat is truly something to be beheld. Big Sean shows up for his bars, and while he could have just sneezed into a mic and collected a paycheck, he puts out primo effort. I want more songs like this.
8. "#GetItRight" -- The world will be better off when songs with hashtags in their title become a thing of the past, but I hope this tune gets trotted out as a single around April next year, becoming a contender for Song of the Summer 2014. Simple and catchy, Cyrus sounds like she's having fun for once.
9. "Drive" -- Another Mike WiLL joint, a laser-pointed EDM sound meets "Bleeding Love" with a middling vocal performance. No valentines awarded.
10. "FU" -- Christina Aguilera or Amy Winehouse would have doubtless blown this torchy, fabulous burlesque outta the bedroom. Here, I'm just pleased Cyrus doesn't blow it, period. "FU" showcases a carefully comped vocal line with French Montana, who might as well be just some guy from somewhere. It brims with attitude, but surgically tight to a fault.
11. "Do My Thang" -- Cyrus sings the big hook and lopes through raps in this trap-dripping hip-hop song. Any producer can plop lyrics to a click track, but Cyrus' fails hard as a rapper because of the patent falseness of her flow and thang-doing. This is like rote academia, with its senseless Mad Libs of "bitch" and "f*ck" and eye-rolling, fantastically fake-ass swagger. This is probably where she fought to keep a song on the 13-track set, and where she should have lost.
12. "Maybe You're Right" -- Proportionally, this would have fit right next to "FU," and thematically, it's like the regret that follows a bad blow-up like "FU." Her range struggles with the improved climaxes, though it's refreshingly emotive.
13. "Someone Else" -- This ooncha-ooncha closer might as well be about Cyrus' relationship to her fans and the press that's followed her in recent days. There's hints of instability and neediness in her high-pitched pleas and she reports "I've turned into someone else." We noticed. "Hold me close... tell me now is not the end." It's big and convincing, so maybe we'll stay after all?
Letterman to stick around through 2015
"The Late Show" host's contract was set to expire next year, but David Letterman will stay on through at least August 2015, when he'll be 68. This means Dave will have a full year of battling the two Jimmys, Fallon and Kimmel, at 11:35. "There is only one Dave, and we are extremely proud that he continues to call CBS 'home,'" said CBS boss Les Moonves in a statement. PLUS: CBS' extension quiets succession talks while allowing Dave to distance himself from Jay Leno.
Sarah Silverman & Topher Grace will play siblings on HBO
Patti Lupone will play their mom in "People In New Jersey" from producers Lorne Michaels and Paul Feig.
Star Jones is set to star on a legal talk show
The former "View" star would be one of five panelists on the proposed syndicated legal project.
"To Catch a Predator's" Chris Hansen has shot a syndicated talk show pilot
The former "Dateline" star is pitching a daily syndicated show with a true crime focus.
"Nikita's" final season kicks off Nov. 22
The final season will air over six weeks.
Check out "Freaks & Geeks: The Game"
What if the NBC comedy classic was a retro video game, where you had to control Lindsay Weir?
Let no one accuse the American Film Institute of not giving us sufficient notice on this: it won't be presented until next summer, but veteran actress/activist/workout instructress Jane Fonda has been named the recipient of the next AFI Life Achievement Award. She'll accept the honor at a gala tribute evening of June 5, 2014.
"24" bringing back Kim Raver and William Devane
"24: Live Another Day" will feature Audrey and her dad, James Heller.
Albuquerque newspaper runs a paid Walter White obituary
Albuquerque residents who are part of the Facebook group “Unofficial Breaking Bad Fan Tour” placed today's obit, which states: "He will be greatly missed." UPDATE: The obit cost $166 plus tax.
"Scandal" returns to it best-ever ratings, "The Millers" premieres big
Olivia Pope attracted 15% more viewers than her Season 2 finale, while "The Millers" scored 13.2 million. On NBC, "Welcome to the Family" got only 3.3 million and "Sean Saves the World" premiered to 4.9 million. "The Originals" retained 75% of "The Vampire Diaries'" audience, which was down 25% from last year's premiere.
Nat Geo orders "Duck Quacks Don't Echo"
The "Brain Games" companion, based on a UK series, will have panelists challenge each other with scientific questions.
Watch Kate Walsh on DirecTV's "Full Circle"
The "Private Practice" alum is one of several big names in the Neil LaBute limited series.
Remember when you thought hybrids were just cars? Oh, those were the days! Watching the premiere of "The Originals," I'm a little overwhelmed with the new layer of mythology that has been slapped on top of what I thought I knew from "The Vampire Diaries." While I'm sure it entirely makes sense somehow (Julie Plec wouldn't lead us astray), I can't help but think, man, it's been an awful lot of work just for Klaus to claim dual citizenship.
Forest Whitaker's awards season prospects are very much in flux: his potential Oscar nomination for summer hit "The Butler" (which would be only the second of his career) is largely dependent on whether or not certain prestige films take hold in the months to come. One honor he'll definitely be receiving, however, is the Actor Tribute at the indie-oriented Gotham Awards on December 2. "Breaking boundaries and challenging audiences with complex, multifaceted roles, Forest Whitaker is a significant independent voice whose performances have only been elevated by his visionary work as a producer, director and humanitarian," says Gotham Award director Joana Vicente. Previous recipients of the tribute include Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon and Robert Duvall. [Hollywood Reporter]
"Scandal's" Tony Goldwyn: "When we read the script, I was like, 'What?!'"
Goldwyn says Season 3 of "Scandal" is very different. "It is different, which I was so happy to find out, because I didn't know, and I was so afraid we'd start repeating ourselves," he says. "It's darker. It's more complex than Season 2, if you can believe that. The complexities of it are just more intricate. So far, while a lot of crazy stuff that happens, they aren't the big, dramatic things. We are really starting to sink deep roots." PLUS: Gladiators and cast and crew react to the season premiere, "Scandal" stars become mannequins at Saks Fifth Avenue, Olivia Pope's fashion detailed, even guys like "Scandal," is "Scandal" optimistic?, Scott Foley defends Jake Ballard, should you root for Fitz & Olivia?, why Olivia is no role model, and Capitol Hill is hooked.
"Glee" releases "Farewell to Finn" promo
"It was very hard," Ryan Murphy says of next week's episode. "I struggled even working on it because what you're seeing is what they felt not just about Finn but Cory. It's amazing performances across the board and everybody went into it with a lot of love." PLUS: Naya Rivera gets engaged to Big Sean.
Stephen Colbert performs an epic gov't shutdown wedding
A couple couldn't be married at the Jefferson Memorial, so they wed on Colbert. (Watch Part 2).
Louis CK taking a much more leisurely approach to "Louie" Season 4
At NY PaleyFest, a reinvigorated Louis CK explained: "We usually start shooting in February for that year's show, and we’re four months ahead this time. So we have much, much more time."
Tina Fey's "SNL" premiere was the best opener in 2 years
That may have something to do with last year's "SNL" season premiere with Seth MacFarlane airing two weeks early.
Hallmark Channel picks up "Signed, Sealed & Delivered" starring Eric Mabius
The "Ugly Betty" alum's movie, airing next week, will become a series.
"The Originals" is a far cry from "The Vampire Diaries"
It's lacking in "Vampire's" post-adolescent heat. PLUS: There's a steep learning curve.
Why is "Hell on Wheels" so anti-Mormon?
On the AMC series, Mormons are "either bloodthirsty, violent jerks or simpletons," says Scott Pierce. "It's lazy writing relying on clichés and stereotypes."
"Breaking Bad" characters get "Simpson"-ized
What if Walter White & Co. lived in Springfield?
In defense of "The Millers'" use of fart jokes
The gassy CBS sitcom does have a point with its reliance on flatulence. PLUS: Margo Martindale is terrific on terrible "Millers," and Will Arnett has had quite a year since "Up All Night" ended abruptly.
Alyson Hannigan & Alexis Denisof renew their wedding vows on their 10th anniversary
The Whedonverse stars celebrated their 10th anniversary this week.
"Sean Saves the World" is hilarious despite obvious jokes
The new NBC comedy is a serviceable sitcom. PLUS: Sean Hayes was made for TV.
For nationwide audiences, the wait is over. And hopefully we haven't built it up too much around here but me, Greg, Guy, Drew -- we're pretty much over the moon for "Gravity," an experience like none you've ever had in a theater. I caught it twice at Telluride and it seemed at the time that a tandem piece with "All is Lost" made sense, given thematic and narrative parallels. We've talked to the film's director, Alfonso Cuarón, as well as producer David Heyman and star Sandra Bullock. It truly is one of the great movies of our era and I'm not personally concerned about overstating it. Now, however, it's your turn. So when you get around to seeing it this weekend or whenever, please tell us what you thought in the comments section and feel free to vote in our poll. I know I'll be heading out to see it in IMAX tonight and, at some point, Dolby Atmos. It warrants multiple trips to the multiplex, I think.